Fine Art Photography Daily

Stephen DiRado: Up Island

AQ Johanna 091612LG

©Stephen DiRado, Johanna, Aquinnah, MA, September 16, 2012

Stephen DiRado is a rare artist who has created a rich legacy of excellence in photography. Each of his projects celebrate the human connection–our relationships to each other and to our planet–in an honest and poetic way, captured with large format consideration. Five years ago, he was awarded a well deserved Guggenheim Fellowship for that legacy.  Stephen has spent the past 30 years making summer photographs on Martha’s Vineyard, and he has created a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to make a book of this work. These timeless black and white photographs reflect a practice that comes as natural as the summer sun, ingrained in his routine of returning to the same shores year after year.

Stephen DiRado (born 1957, lives and works In Worcester, MA) is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design and has taught at Clark University for over three decades.  He has produced several bodies of work depicting the lives of friends, families, neighbors and communities in the Worcester area (including ‘Bell Pond’ and ‘Mall’) and on Martha’s Vineyard (‘Beach People’).  In 2012, DiRado was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in photography.  A mini-retrospective of his work, entitled ‘A Photographer’s Embrace’ and curated by Kristina Durocher, opened at the University of New Hampshire Art Museum in October, 2017.

01 Cliffs Aquinnah

©Stephen DiRado, Cliffs, Aquinnah, MA, June 23, 2016

Up Island

For some thirty years, I have photographed a community of artists, writers, friends, and seekers during summers on Martha’s Vineyard. While individual portraits form a central part of this body of work, community is likewise an important theme, set against a remote, singular island landscape. While rooted in a documentary ethos, my work contains elements of staging and artifice, for example, the use of studio-style equipment like flashes and reflectors in my beach portraits. Virtually all of my up-island photographs are made with an 8×10-inch, large format view camera.

The result, I hope, is a body of work that evokes summer, and the relationship of the individual to landscape, while also exploring the interpersonal dynamics and inner worlds of my subjects, most of whom I have known and photographed for many years.

The book project consists of about seventy images in its current form, and is edited by Tom Morrissey.

02 Amy and friends Aquinnah

©Stephen DiRado,  Amy and friends, Aquinnah, MA, June 18, 2015

03 Denise and friends West-Tisbury

©Stephen DiRado, Denise and friends, West Tisbury, MA, July 2, 1996

04 Grace West Tisbury

©Stephen DiRado, Grace, West Tisbury, MA, August 4, 1990

05 JeanNette Chilmark

©Stephen DiRado, JeanNette, Chilmark, MA, June 27, 1999

06 Ann and Ted West Tisbury

©Stephen DiRado, Anne and Ted, West Tisbury, MA, July 13, 2017

07 Tara Aquinnah

©Stephen DiRado, Tara, Aquinnah, MA, June 24, 2017

08 Kirk and Ali Aquinnah

©Stephen DiRado, Kirk and Ali, Aquinnah, MA, July 31, 2011

09 Blanket Aquinnah

©Stephen DiRado, Blanket, Gay Head, MA, July 21, 1996

10 Path Aquinnah

©Stephen DiRado, Path, Aquinnah, MA, September 1, 2016

11 Clay Aquinnah

©Stephen DiRado, Clay, Aquinnah, MA, August 8, 2012

12 Christopher Aquinnah

©Stephen DiRado, Christopher, Aquinnah, MA, August 24, 2009

13 Kirk Aquinnah

©Stephen DiRado, Kirk, Aquinnah, MA, July 9, 2012

14 Brian and Becky Aquinnah

©Stephen DiRado, Brian and Becky, Aquinnah, MA, July 13, 1997

15 Waning Moon Oak Bluffs

©Stephen DiRado, Waning moon, Oak Bluffs, MA, April 5, 1997

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